“The ‘Friendly’ Ghost?” You Might As Well Call Me “One Of The Good Ones”


By Casper

That nickname is offensive on so many levels. For starters, it’s anti-ghost as all hell. When you use “friendly” as an identifier for just one ghost, you’re suggesting that ghosts are naturally unfriendly by nature. For shame, people, for shame. I thought better of you. The few I’d met of you seemed nice. Not so nice that I felt compelled to call you something like “Jerry the Nice Human” or anything, but maybe that’s just because I have some manners and actually respect you as individuals instead of weighing you against everything I know about people that have nothing to do with what makes Jerry so wonderfully Jerry.

My name is Casper. It’s not even a particularly common name and if you need to differentiate me from any human friends you might have named Casper, how about just Casper the Ghost? How many ghosts do you know? Even for someone that knows a couple hundred ghosts, I’d bet my afterlife that you wouldn’t know another one named Casper. We ghosts stay up on that kind of stuff. Nobody wants the same name as another ghost. We only get the one. You’re not going to find any ghosts named Tim Whatley. We’re all Chuck or Bill or Darius. Sometimes we have nicknames but most of us are good with just being the only translucent being named Peter.

We ghosts don’t have much in the way of egos. We’re going to be here a long time and if you think you’re going to be the same ghost today as you are in two thousand years, you’re crazy. The ones that lock into a personality too early are a lot of fun at first, but usually get pretty annoying three or four centuries in. They just get too set in their ways, obsessed with the boos of their time and never learning the ways of spooking folks like the kids do. I’m not saying that we older ghosts should be acting like the younger ones wholesale, but we could work a little harder to show some respect for their generation. Instead of trying to cut them off at the ankles, give them a hand. Teach them what we know about making humans uncomfortable with their mortality.

When it comes down to it, we have a lot of the same problems that humans do. Sure, we don’t have to eat or bathe and we can’t have sex with anything no matter how hard we concentrate, but we’re still social creatures. We still have to work at an unfulfilling job that we hate all while trying to convince ourselves that all of this means something, when we know for a fact it doesn’t. We already know that this is the afterlife. Just hanging around watching people that are even dumber than you make the same mistakes you did, then join you. Not all of you become ghosts, though, and some of us eventually disappear. None of us ghosts have figured out where ghosts go when they disappear, but we assume it’s hell. Which would at least have a little more closure than this.

I wouldn’t wish ghosthood on my worst enemy. It’s a terrible existence. You’re having an existential crisis as a human? Yeah, well I’m a blob of goo floating above a staircase, and for all I know I could be here forever. If you took a minute to think about what it’s like to be a ghost, maybe you’d understand why most of us aren’t so “friendly.” They say that when you end up a ghost, it’s because you have unfinished business. Do you have any idea how hard it is to pinpoint unfinished business in the span of your life? Think about your entire life for a minute. Now think about all the things you’ve left unfinished. It could be anything. Maybe it’s that tire swing you were building for your son, or the article in Popular Mechanics for Kids you never finished, or maybe it’s just that birdhouse you were making in Shop before Mr. Johansen killed himself and you all got to go to the library third period for the rest of the year. It could be anything and you only have eternity to figure it out. Think about that.

How “friendly” does that make you feel?